As we enter the spring season in the northern hemisphere, researchers are getting ready to deploy their bioacoustics recorders. In labs and offices, green boxes appear from dusty shelves. The question on everyone’s mind is, how do I make sure these recorders will work well in the upcoming months?
The good news is that there isn’t much that needs to be done. The SM4 line of recorders is designed to work well for years with very little maintenance.
Check firmware & update if necessary
Though we recommend that this be done regularly, the spring season is a great time to check that your recorders have the latest firmware. Keeping this up to date is the best way to make sure you don’t run into problems or bugs that we have already fixed.
You can check for the latest firmware version on our website. To see what firmware you currently have on your Song Meter, simply press the 'Check Status' button.
The second line of text on the screen will contain the firmware version (ex: 2.2.0)
If the numbers match the latest version on our website (ex: SM4BAT FS (SYS2-2-0.SM4)), you are up to date. If there is a newer version on our website, simply download it here and follow the instructions on the page.
Check all ports and gaskets
- Carefully examine the various ports and fittings on the recorder to make sure they are secure and do not show any damage.
- Check the two rubber gaskets (rubber rings that seal the doors of the Song Meter), one inside each door, for any tears or other damage which could cause leaking.
Test your microphones
- For acoustic recorders, make a test recording of your voice and play it back using Kaleidoscope or other software. If you can hear your voice clearly, then the mic is working fine. Make sure to test both internal mics and any external ones that you may own.
- Ultrasonic microphones need to be tested with our ultrasonic calibrator. Full instructions for this procedure are available in the SM4BAT user guide. If you do not own a calibrator, now is a great time to get one and start verifying your microphone sensitivity regularly.
If you find any damage that needs the attention of our repair center, or if you have any questions about maintenance of your SM4 or SM4 Bat recorder, please contact Wildlife Acoustics’ support.